Random flank spasm: is it really my hamstrings?
April 28, 2016 9:14 AM   Subscribe

You are neither my doctor nor my trainer. But for the past week and a half I've had random transitory (<1 second) spasming pains (3/10) in my right flank/kidney area. My trainer says it's just tight hamstrings and is working with me to stretch them. Should I adopt a wait and see attitude to see if it really is my hamstrings, or should I be calling the doctor?

Sometimes it happens when I move or twist or bend the wrong way, although not completely reproducibly. Sometimes it happens when I go from sitting to standing, particularly when I'm getting out of my very low car. Sometimes when I run or jump it feels like an entire organ is in pain briefly, but other than that it doesn't feel like a kidney stone or other renal problem. Hydrating helps slightly. Lifting weights doesn't trigger anything. Otherwise, hours can go by without anything triggering this spasm; it seems utterly random.

I've looked at the description of sacroiliac joint injury that a MeFi search turned up, but that doesn't seem to quite describe the pain. There's no radiation of pain anywhere. I don't have a fever so it's not a kidney infection, and I've had kidney stones before so I know I'd be writhing helplessly in pain if it were that.

So… random painful spasms in the one place. What gives?
posted by Somnambulista to Health & Fitness (3 answers total)
It definitely sounds muscular, but I am no medical professional. I am, however, a random spasm sufferer. I get them all the time, pretty much all over my trunk and legs. I get one all the time just where you describe it. I stick a thumb in it for a bit and it goes away, so I don't worry about it. I am always getting blood work done for other things, so I feel like if there was something serious going on, I'd know. Look up home remedies for muscle spasms and see if that gives you relief.

Anyway, if it freaks you out, get a professional opinion!
posted by clone boulevard at 10:21 AM on April 28, 2016

1. Make sure you are drinking enough water throughout the day.
2. Start taking magnesium and potassium supplements (it will help with the muscle pain and spasms).
3. Go to a sports medicine massage therapist and have them do some deep tissue work on your hips. They will be able to tell if you have tight hamstrings or tendons in the area, or if it's an issue with any of the many small muscle groups around that area of your side / back.

Hopefully that will help, if not solve the problem completely.
posted by ananci at 12:19 PM on April 28, 2016 [1 favorite]

I am a fellow kidney stone sufferer, and I have chronic sacroiliitis. I rarely have trouble telling the difference--the kidney pain is higher and more likely to wrap around the side, while the SI pain is lower and more connected to leg or spine movement. However, I do sometimes get brief random stabbing kidney pains in the run-up to passing a stone. There's of course nothing you can do if that's what's going to happen, but if you haven't visited a urologist or had a kidney CT scan before, or if it's been awhile, this might be a good reason to do so just to know what's going on there.
posted by hydropsyche at 5:34 AM on April 29, 2016

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